Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the deeds of darkness and to put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which your Son came to us in great humility; that on the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious Majesty to judge the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
This is the Word of the Lord
Romans 13 :10 - 13
Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
THE ADVENT ALARM
Understanding the present time: Life in the present is not an index of what is to continue or to come. Our current condition cannot be guaranteed to remain. Our state of mind or circumstance is fragile to the force of changeable and fluctuating fortune beyond our ability to determine or influence. Divine Providence reigns over time and motion, and the future is unpredictable; although man cannot resist the temptation to venture forecasts with certainty that is unwarranted. This is a daring beyond the lowly attitude of prayer and dependence upon the wisdom of the Divine.
Any present comfort, coziness, or composure is unreliable. Time moves swiftly and new events occur rapidly that can totally alter a situation with suddenness. A sense of repose can be seriously risky. There is a human tendency to rest and revel in the abeyance of alertness to instant emergency - a state of contentment unguarded against any kind of surprise or crisis. Snoozing can be a way of life. A slumbering present can inure us to incidents of shock that require immediate attention and preparation for decisive action.
The present time is not a permanent state of affairs but the threshold to successive developments, good and bad, and it is good to be on guard for whatever eventuates in order to take advantageous or defensive measures. Believers take cognizance of the pledges and warnings of God as to what the future will contain, without a revealed timetable of fulfillment. Readiness is to be their watchword. Every hour is to be the hour of expectation. We wake up quickly from lapses into slumber knowing that the promised Day of the Lord portends triumph for some and tragedy for others. It is imperative that we heed the Gospel that will divide the sheep from the goats. The last day approaches ineluctably. The hour has come for an encounter with reality.
The day is almost here: Heaven’s red-letter day is firmly fixed and established as to when it will appear. It must always be considered as imminent. “But the Lord will come like a thief” (2 Peter 3:10). It is designed to surprise, though much warning is delivered in good time for us to be on the alert. For Christians the undisclosed date of the Lord’s appearing is prospectively a cause of immense joy and eager anticipation.
Salvation is now nearer than when we first believed: Salvation is our immediate hope and inheritance the moment we believe. We possess it fully through the promise of God’s sure word. But entrance to everlasting life won for us by Jesus Christ is preceded by a travel through time until we connect with eternity. Our union with the Lord Jesus through saving faith affords the certainty that our unfailing Companion will lead us home as we follow in his steps, his hand holding ours. “God will show us the path of life; in his presence is the fullness of joy: and at his right hand there is pleasure for evermore” (Psalm 16:11).
Earth’s night of uncertainty, trial, temptation, sin, grief and doubt is almost over. The darkness need not enclose our lives any longer, nor influence our desires and deeds. The light of the Lord protects and guides us. His word, wisdom, and commands help us to choose our way carefully and to walk in safety. Paul adumbrates the sinful, careless, life driven by carnal urges in such distasteful terms that grieve us. But without grace none of us could avoid the most horrid tendencies of our fallen nature. We are always in need of exhortations to holiness, reminders of moral danger, and protection from entrapment. The certainty of the Day of The Lord enables us to press on in resolute righteousness. The enticements of a sinful world cannot dissuade us from the vision of our Saviour’s glorious Majesty. Indeed we delight to clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ: his mind, his truth, his fellowship, his influence within, his shining purity, and tender conformity to the likeness and will of God. How rapturous is such closeness to him in repudiation of the wicked world that bequeaths us only shame, guilt, and separation from a gracious and good God, the only delight of a converted and regenerate heart.
Jesus, the Redeemer of the world, will come as stern judge of the whole earth, its total population throughout all time. None shall escape his universal scrutiny and just verdict. With fondness he will regard each one of his chosen people. He will bid them and bind them to himself. What inexhaustible bliss.
With justice he will banish all who refuse him and have desired never to know and trust him; those who fail to truly repent and sincerely believe his holy gospel.
The Advent Alarm gives shrill bidding to all to consider the summons of the gospel with grave good sense.
The present will pass. And so too the day of salvation.
“Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen” (1 Peter 3: 17-18).